Dancing on the Coordinate Plane: DDR Style

By: Mary Kienstra on: January 31, 2014  in: coordinate grid, dance, Engagement, Math, movement, ordered pairs   4 Comments

Every once in a while, you have to shake things up a bit.  You have to keep them guessing.  Keep them wondering.  Engage them in a new way.  Make them move!  It was time to add a little movement: DDR style.  It was time to dance on the coordinate plane.  Here’s what happened:

One morning, I brought in big sheets (3 ft. x 3 ft.) of craft paper, one for each student.  I gave each student a meter stick and the paper and told them to find the middle.  They were truly wondering what was going on now.  

Now it was time to tell them what we were doing.  They used this big piece of paper to create a coordinate plane.  They labeled the origin and then the quadrants as (+,+); (+,-); (-,-); and (-,+).   What they didn’t realize was that they were actually creating a mat for their DDR or DD-Ordered Pairs.  For the uninitiated, DDR is the video game “Dance, Dance, Revolution.” 

One of my colleagues created an animated PowerPoint presentation that shows ordered pairs on the screen.  While the ordered pairs flashed on the screen, fun dance music (4th grade appropriate, of course) set the mood.

My students spread out across the room, some in socks, some in shoes.  The instructions were to find a place where they could see the screen and had a little bit of room around them.  It was great fun to stand and watch my students move from quadrant to quadrant as they watched the ordered pairs on the screen.  The first few times through the PowerPoint, the students were tentative and watching each other for the moves.  As we practiced “dancing to the ordered pairs” over a period of a week, they became more confident and knew exactly where to put their feet.  There were exit slips through the week that affirmed my suspicions that they were, indeed, learning where the ordered pairs were located.

Today was the quiz – and YES! every student ACED it.  Moving adds a new element to learning.  Involving kinesthetic movement for the win! 

Now I’m wondering… what other parts of our curriculum could I shake up? What other dance moves do my students have?  Any suggestions?

Dancing to the ordered pairs
Creating the DD Ordered Pairs dancing mat
Learning to Move, Moving to Learn

Thanks to my colleague, JD, who thinks outside the box when it comes to math!

  4 comments   Comment

  1. 9 years ago  


    That’s pretty brilliant!

    (haha I’m Ms. K and I teach middle school math, so I giggle for a bit at your blog name haha)

    Anisa @ Creative Undertakings

  2. 9 years ago  

    Mary Kienstra

    Thursday night was Open House, Of course my students wanted to show off their dance moves. We had my 4th graders, their siblings, and even parents dancing. They all loved it!

  3. 3 years ago  

    Nicole Renberg


    Do you have the powerpoint and would you be willing to share it? I would love to try this with my students as the warm up before introducing coordinate plane.

    • 3 years ago  

      Mary Kienstra

      I’m sorry I can’t share the power point as it was created by a colleague.

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